China says routine adjustment of list not aimed at any specific company
China”s newly-revised catalog of technologies subject to export curbs is not targeted at any specific company and its contents were finalized after completing the necessary legal procedures, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
The revised catalog marks a routine adjustment to the 2008 catalog in accordance with the development of science and technology, and is focused on the need to promote international scientific and technological exchanges and cooperation. It does not target specific companies, said Gao Feng, the ministry’s spokesman.
Responding to queries during a weekly briefing, the official said that the move was not related to Tik-Tok, a short video-sharing app owned by China’s ByteDance.
China added 23 cutting-edge technologies to the list of items restricted for export last week. The new catalog has also modified the specifications involved in 21 technology items, including crop breeding, chemical raw material production, biological pesticide production, spacecraft measurement and control, space data transmission as well as mapping and information processing.
According to the government regulation in this area, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Science and Technology have been actively carrying out the revision of this catalog in recent years. They have taken advice widely from related government branches, business associations, and academic and businesses circles, Gao said.
Technology exports refer to China’s transfer of technologies, including the transfer of patent rights and technology secrets to foreign markets via trade and investment activities, as well as economic and technological cooperation.
Under government rules, the country categorizes exports of this kind into free, restricted and prohibited categories. Free tech exports are subject to contractual registration afterward, while restricted technology shipments need a license.
If relevant companies are involved in trade, investment or foreign economic and technological cooperation in transferring the technologies listed in the catalog to other nations, Gao said that they should consult the provincial-level commerce department in a timely manner and proceed in accordance with relevant regulations.
According to information released by the Ministry of Commerce, it has been more than a decade since the last revision of the catalog took place. The original list of items for which exports are prohibited came into effect on Nov 1, 2008. It was not until July 2018 that the government unveiled draft revisions to the list for control of both exports and imports.
China’s technology exports stood at $20 billion in 2013, less than half that of technology imports. After years of growth, the country’s technology exports amounted to $32.1 billion in 2019, almost equal to the value of technology imports, according to ministry data.
Xue Rongjiu, deputy director of the China Society for WTO Studies in Beijing, said the latest catalog shows China’s growing security awareness. To better ensure its interest under current global business and political setting, the country has given more consideration to security issues and the effects brought by the rising protectionism.
China is not the first country to apply such export restrictions. Many countries have implemented such measure, he said, adding China’s export restrictions are in line with international norms and practices, and it is a normal policy adjustment.